This past weekend I spent my Saturday floating on the Rahway River in Cranford and hiking the South Mountain Reservation in Millburn. Little did I know much of my time I would be picking up other people’s trash.
I have enjoyed paddling down this river for many years and it has always been in various state of cleanliness. But this time I was really surprised at the amount of man-made trash there was, so many single-use beverage bottles!
Back in 2012, Superstorm Sandy devastated Cranford and had the town flooded. The river overflowed and took various backyard items with it when it receeded. So I wasn’t too surprised when I found large items in the river, but was disappointed to think that they had been there for four years. Among the many single-use beverage bottles we picked up, the most unique items we pulled from the river was a full size garbage can (with wheels too) and a ladies black leather knee-high boot.
Unfortunately we were unable to pull from the river what looked like a trampoline mat or pool cover because of the weight. I hope to locate that area on land and visit that park to pull it up from the shore instead of while on water.
We had a six year old with us in the canoe who got really excited about spotting the trash and helping to pull it into the canoe. He even insisted on getting a hard to reach green bottle, so we tried a couple times and managed to get it.
Our next adventure that day was the Fairy Trail in South Mountain Reservation. It also happened to be the same trail that led us to a very kid friendly geocache (GCW4HV) too. This trail had far less trash than the river did, but there were still some single-use bottles that needed assistance in finding the recycle can. There was also a pile of glass beer bottles, we managed to carry 7 of the 10 out to be recycled. Next time I need to remember to hike with some type of bag to carry out all of the trash and recycling that I find.
We all had a great time spending hours outside while also helping out the environment. Kids can always help too, especially when they make recycling a fun game!